Ceasefire must be respected -Diplomats

The International Community, African Union, United Nations and other bodiesowning Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) haveinsisted that the government troops and armed groups shouldrespect the unilateral ceasefire declared by President Salva Kiir a month ago following the fighting reported inPangak a week ago.

They said violation of ceasefire cannot create conducive environment for dialogue among South Sudanese.

Speaking after the meeting with the leadership of Steering Committee of the National Dialogue on Tuesday, Ambassador of Netherlands to South Sudan, GreertGeut said that National Dialogue can only take place if there is security to allow citizens tofeel free to speak up their mind.

“There were fights going on in Pagak despite  unilateral ceasefire that has been announced, there is still some work needed to be done and for that matter we are calling on the principal parties  to the conflict to respect the call for  unilateral ceasefire  so that National Dialogue can take place,”Geut told  Journalists.

Early this week,SPLA-IO in government claimed to have recaptured Pagak after government troops captured it from former First Vice President Dr. RiekMachar’s rebels.

Ambassador Geutsaid Netherlands will continue to support any initiative that can bring peace in the country and they will stand with South Sudan to achieve peace.

Japanese Ambassador to South Sudan, Kiya Masahiko said Japan has supported the decision taken by the government to release thepolitical detainees. He said it would give chance to both opposition and government to participate in the National Dialogue to resolve their grievances.

“I am delighted for the release of a large number of the political prisoners, I hope this would create conducive environment for the National Dialogue,” said Masahiko.“I hope further action will be taken by the government as well as opposition groups so that everyone is on board now space for dialogue is here.”

The Japanese Ambassador calledon all South Sudanese to get together to bring peace so that the International Community could continue to support thecountry.

Betty AchanOgwaro, a member of the National Dialogue Steering Committee welcomed the calls by the foreign Diplomats, but said respect of ceasefire is a military issuethat the National Dialogue Steering Committee asked the government and armed groups to respect.

“We talked to President Salva and we are also trying to talk to government army and the armed groups that both should respect the ceasefire even if one attack the other one should respond in a better way,”said Betty.

She askedSouth Sudanese who are still not in the process of National Dialogue to join the process in order for everybody to talk and hear each other.

“National Dialogue is the only best way to talk because it will bring all the issues on the table, negotiated peace agreement is good but it will leave out a large number of citizens because it will be negotiated only between the parties,” said Betty.

By Kidega Livingstone

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